The Arizona sky is beautiful at sunset, even on a cloudless evening when admired in the windows of roadside abandonment. When I arrived at the Schwamborn’s home the stars were vivid with the air chilled and clear.
Pee Wee and Susan are the sweetest and most hospitable of hosts. After nearly three years, It was so good to see them again. Once settled and fed a hot meal, I learned of all the exciting places they planned to take me. Here are a few of the highlights.
We visited Arcosanti, an urban experiment of sorts, a self-sustaining city set on 8000 acres which, on it’s completion, is intended to support about 5000 people.
The brain child of Paolo Soleri, a rogue student of Frank Lloyd Wright and renowned artist in his own right, Arcosanti was a fascinating study in architecture and design. Pee Wee, who thoroughly enjoys photography, found plenty of excellent photo ops. As did I.
I learned that not all Arizona is simply a flat to rolling hot desert as I had always believed. Within a 65 mile radius the Schwamborns took me everywhere from crystal blue lakes to snow-covered mountains to scenes rivaling the Grand Canyon. I never knew Arizona had so much topographical variety.
We scrambled through the wilderness near Dewey, where the terrain is rough without a trail and glacial-like ice packs nestle in the crevices. Sunshine played hide and seek with the rocks.
It is a treasure in mid-century design, but more importantly, it is a spiritual place. It doesn’t matter what you believe or who you believe in.
In spite of waning daylight, we went high into the mountain to Jerome, an old mining town that is alive and crumbling all at the same time.
Jerome’s architecture is diverse and the remnants retain a few traces of what must have been its glory days.
One the way down the mountain I found that flamingoes even frequent the high country of Arizona. But they wear a most unusual costume at these elevations.
Near Phoenix I had the privilege of meeting Brad Norgaard, fellow Tradewind owner, for lunch. It was wonderful to thank him in person for his kindness and support when I was first learning the ropes of Airstream ownership. Among other things, of course, we talked about all things Airstream.
His Airforums handle is Flyfsher and you can catch his blog at ’59 Tradewind. If you ever meet Brad and his lovely wife Julie on the road, you are in for a treat.
Thanks to the Schwamborns, the stereotypical desert state visual of Arizona has been blown out of the water for me. It wasn’t until approaching Phoenix that I saw some of the Arizona I had always envisioned. Arizona, I will come back again, one day.